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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2008, 12:29 GMT
Scots ask US to lift haggis ban
Chef John Paul McLachlan poses with his prize haggis
Haggis, traditionally eaten on Burns night, is banned in the US
The Scottish Government is considering asking the United States to rethink its ban on haggis imports.

Imports of Scotland's iconic dish were banned by the US in 1989 in the wake of the BSE scare because it contains offal ingredients such as sheep lungs.

Only an offal-free version of haggis is available in the US.

The move would be backed by renowned haggis maker Macsween, which believes the American market could be a very lucrative one.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it "will consider engaging the US government on its haggis export ban, if there is popular support for such a move from within our world famous haggis producers".

Expat Scots

Jo Macsween, a co-director of family company Macsween, said she hoped to see the ban overturned.

"The market is massive because there are so many expat Scots there and once Americans try a good quality haggis, they can't get enough of it," she added.

The dish is traditionally served with neeps and tatties on Burns night.

It usually contains ingredients such as sheeps lungs, liver and heart minced with onion.

We see no reason at all why people cannot eat haggis safely, so long as manufacturers follow hygiene legislation
Food Standards Agency

It is boiled in the animal's stomach.

A spokesman for the US Department of Agriculture said: "We do not allow importation because of the UK's BSE status."

"Sheep are susceptible to TSEs and thus the US takes precautions on importing those ruminants from BSE-affected countries."

However, a spokesman for Britain's Food Standards Agency said: "We see no reason at all why people cannot eat haggis safely, so long as manufacturers follow hygiene legislation.

"We have the strictest BSE controls in the world."

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